The Silver Crown ‘Cotyledon Undulata’

Cotyledon Undulata featured image

Cotyledon Undulata, also known as Silver Crown Plant, is the most popular member of the cotyledon family. It is also one Silver Ruffles. It falls under the succulent category, and it grows to a maximum of two feet. The leaves are relatively small, and they usually grow to a maximum of 12 cm in length.

The names Silver Crown and silver ruffles come from its grayish-waxy leaves. The graying color is the silvery appearance for which the plant is named. The leaves also have a very sculptured appearance, and they also have a shell-like appearance.

Other than the unique appearance of its leaves, this decorative plant can also be grown for its flowers. Its flowers are yellow and orange. The plant produces the flowers in 40 cm long stalks.

These flowers grow during spring and early summer when Silver Crown grows like most other succulents. Cotyledon Undulata occurs naturally in South Africa, but it is a popular house plant with collectors from worldwide.

Image from Instagram
  • Other Names: The Silver Crown.
  • Sunlight: best performance under ample indirect sunlight.
  • Watering: water the plant properly.
  • Temperature: 16°C to 26°C.
  • Soil: should be well-draining.
  • Propagation: Easily propagated from cuttings.
  • Toxicity: toxic to many farm animals.

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Growing Cotyledon Undulata

You want your Silver Crown to be healthy to give you the most out of its unique appearance. The following are some of the conditions under which the plant grows best.


The Silver Crown performs best under ample indirect sunlight. Thus you should keep it behind a sheer curtain to keep the leaves from being scorched if you keep it inside the house. It is possible to grow the Silver Crown plant outside the home. Please make sure you shelter it from direct sunlight to keep its leaves from getting scorched. However, the leaves can withstand less intense morning and evening sun.


This plant isn’t adapted for freezing temperatures. Any temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius are too cold for the Silver Crown. The plant does best between sixteen and twenty-six degrees Celsius on the upper side. If you want to use the grow lights for this plant, ensure they aren’t the kind that produces heat. This is because the temperature fluctuations between day and night are helpful for the plant’s growth. The silver crown needs times relative humidity of 40 – 50%.

Care in Winter

This plant is not cold-hardy. You should bring it indoors before the temperature drops below 40oF (5oC). You can keep the plant in a room with temperatures between (50 and 55oF). You don’t need to water it often under these temperatures because evaporation is minimal, and the plant doesn’t spend too much moisture in the season as it is dormant. The soil should be on the dry side this season but with some moisture.

Also, keep the plant in a well-lit room without direct sunlight. You can use grow lights if sunlight is rare in the season.


The soil on which you plant the Cotyledon Undulata should be well-draining. When potting it, mix leaf mulch with coarse sand. You can also consider buying a commercial cactus substrate which is usually entirely permeable.

Watering and Feeding

Waterlogging causes root rot that is detrimental to the plant’s well-being—like with most succulents, waterlogging is a cause of some of the most severe challenges facing the Silver Crown plant. You should water the plant sparingly during winter and autumn since not much growth happens in those seasons. It would help if you increased your watering in summer and spring, not only to cater for evaporation but also to cater to the advanced needs of the plant that is now growing.

Give the plant some time to use the water you have given it. You can determine the right time to water the plant by checking how wet the top two inches of the substrate are. If there is still moisture, don’t water.

Water the plant every time you find the substrate dry. Soon enough, you will get the watering rhythm from how often you need to water the plant so that your estimations will be more accurate. No matter how good you get at timing, make sure you check soil moisture before watering, else you might miscalculate and cause waterlogging.

Make sure you don’t water the leaves because contact with water makes the leaves rot. To avoid moisture on the leaves, you can water the plant from below by submerging the previous post in a water bath without covering it to the top. The water seeps through the pot giving the plant a good drink without ever coming into contact with the leaves.

Silver Crown doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer. You give it a mild dissolved cactus fertilizer. You apply it in spring and summer when the plant is growing. It is also advisable to feed it with compost towards the end of winter so that the plant can take in the nutrients in it for use during its growth spurt.


Some of the Silver Crown’s leaves die, and you will need to prune them from time to time. The natural attrition of these leaves starts at the lower side of the plant. Once you remove them, the beauty of the plant is evident.


Like many cotyledons, the Silver Crown Plant is toxic to many farm animals. If they ingest the plant, sheep, goats, cattle, poultry, horses, and dogs get cotyledonosis. Therefore, it would help if you kept it out of reach of animals.

beautiful cotyledon undulata leaves
Photo by @avnichotai via Instagram

How To Propagate Cotyledon Undulata

The best time to propagate the plant is at the beginning of the growing season in spring. Trying to breed in winter won’t achieve the desired result. It may take too long or cause the stem cutting to rot before it can germinate. The following is the propagation process:

  1. Cut a section of the Silver Crown Plant’s stem. The cutting should be two inches long and have at least two nodes. You can tell the position of nodes by where the leaves had sprouted; this is where the roots will eventually grow.
  2. Keep the cutting and dry for two or three days. The process is known as hardening (Callous).
  3. On the fourth day, take the cutting and stick it moist but well-drained soil. If the cutting resulted from beheading, stick the cut side of the stem. If the cutting has been cut on both sides, the side closest to the root will always be thicker, and it is the one you should stick to the soil.
  4. Put the cutting in a warm, well-lit place and water sparingly. Ensure that the soil is dry by watering the cutting only when the top two inches of the earth are dry. Also, you should ensure the pot is well-drained to avoid waterlogging. Waterlogged soil will cause the cutting to rot.
cotyledon undulata in the garden
Photo by @succubelka via Instagram

Potting and Repotting

The Silver Crown is a succulent, and you, therefore, need to be careful with potting. Use leaf mulch from healthy leaves if you want to improvise and mix it with coarse sand. This will ensure the soil is porous; you can go for the more sure way of buying a commercial cactus mix. The commercial substrate is expertly mixed to make it almost entirely permeable.

The pot you use is another critical factor in potting. This is a small, slow-growing plant, so you don’t need a big pot, a shallow, wide pot does nicely. However, your pot should allow water to pass through to prevent waterlogging; no matter how porous the soil, you will have a problem with root rot if the pot doesn’t allow the water that passes through the soil out.

Your pot, therefore, should have drainage holes at the bottom. Also, you should use a breathable pot that allows any additional moisture to escape. A breathable pot also allows for aeration of the soil. An unglazed terracotta pot is a type that meets all these requirements, so you should use it as much as possible. However, your plant can do well in a pot made of any material, even if it is not breathable. Drainage holes and porous soil are the two things a pot must have.

Cotylendon Undulata is a slow-growing plant, and it, therefore, doesn’t need to be repotted often due to an increase in size. Repotting is only necessary every few years due to increasing root size; your plant might become root-bound. However, you can repot if you notice the plant gets root-bound earlier than anticipated. You can tell the overgrown roots if you see some of them protruding in the drainage holes or above the substrate.

Spring is the best season to repot because that’s the season when roots grow, and the plant will get reestablished faster then.

beautiful cotyledon undulata
Photo by @jardin_geran via Instagram

Challenges Of Growing Cotyledon Undulata

You can expect the following common challenges when growing the Cotyledon Undulata.


The most common pests affecting this plant are mealy bugs; scale insects can also menace. You should isolate the affected plant and treat it with a mild mix of succulent soap. Take the plant after managing the infestation.


The Silver Crown is susceptible to the following diseases:

  • Leaf spot disease: It is characterized by soft, brown spots. Poor circulation of air causes life spot disease. You can protect your plants from this disease by keeping them in a well-aired place.
  • Basal Stem Rot Disease: You know that your plants are affected by this disease by the yellowing and wilting of their leaves. The stem base softens from rotting, and the plant eventually dies. The condition is caused by overwatering the plant. Ensure you plant the Silver Crown in well-draining soil and keep the pot drained by making drainage holes.

Leaf drop

Leaves are this plant’s main attraction, and having them drop is a big problem. They fall due to overwatering or overwatering. Water the plant regularly in spring and summer when it is grown and reduce the watering in cold seasons. Overwatering eventually causes root rot and basal stem rot discussed above, so you should avoid it.


A leggy plant means that the stem is long, with just a few leaves at the top. This reduces the leaves from the plant. Leggy Silver Crown Plants indicate a lack of adequate sunlight. Move the plant to a better lit position.

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Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

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